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President's Office Files, White House Special Files, 1969-1974
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: President's Office Files, White House Special Files, 1969-1974
    Dates: 1969-1974
    Collection Number: 876218
    Creator/Collector: United States. President (1969-1974 : Nixon). Office of the President.
    Extent: 49 linear feet, 10 linear inches; 114 boxes
    Online items available
    Repository: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
    Abstract: The President's Office Files consist of materials that record the President's daily activities or that were seen or annotated by the President. The two series within this group that are most closely associated with the President are the Handwriting File and the Annotated News Summaries. The files also include memoranda prepared by White House staff members who attended certain meetings with the President.
    Language of Material: English


    Collection is open for research. Some materials may be unavailable based upon categories of materials exempt from public release established in the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974.

    Publication Rights

    Most government records are in the public domain; however, this series includes commercial materials, such as newspaper clippings, that may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the copyright holder for information.

    Preferred Citation

    President's Office Files, White House Special Files, 1969-1974. Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

    Acquisition Information

    These materials are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration under the provisions of Title I of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-526, 88 Stat. 1695) and implementing regulations.

    Biography/Administrative History

    The President's Office Files consists of materials drawn together by the Special Files Unit from several administrative subdivisions within the White House Office. President Nixon's chiefs of staff, H. R. Haldeman (1969-73) and Alexander M. Haig (1973-74), were in charge of the overall operation of the White House Office. Alexander P. Butterfield, as Deputy Assistant to the President, was responsible for the final review of all memoranda and reports going to the President and for handling and marking the material seen by him. Stephen B. Bull assumed these duties in 1973. The bulk of the papers retrieved from the President's outbox were sent to the Central Files or to Henry A. Kissinger for the National Security Council Files. However, materials containing the President's handwriting or of a particularly sensitive nature were sent by Butterfield to the Staff Secretary's Office for disposition and storage. It is the handwriting and sensitive papers sent to the Staff Secretary that now comprise much of the President's Office Files. The manner in which these materials were processed depended on the procedures established by the Staff Secretary. John R. Brown III (1969-71), Jon M. Huntsman (1971), Bruce A. Kehrli (1972-74) and Jerry H. Jones (1974) held this position in the Nixon White House. Butterfield and, later, David C. Hoopes were responsible for ensuring that meetings attended by the President were documented in the files. This included instructing staff members to be present at specific meetings in order to prepare memoranda for the record, and following up to make sure the required memoranda were completed and submitted. The Appointments Office, headed by Dwight L. Chapin, handled the preparation of the President's daily schedule. The First Lady's Office informed Chapin of the public activities of Mrs. Nixon, Patricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower for inclusion in the President's official schedule.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The materials in the President's Office Files, White House Special Files date from 1969 to 1974. They provide a detailed record of the President's official responsibilities as head of state, chief executive, commander-in-chief, and political leader. The materials are arranged into six series: President's Handwriting, News Summaries, President's Meetings File, Chronological File, President's Daily Schedule, and President's Telephone Calls. The files include papers the President saw or may have seen, documentation of his daily activities, and administrative control records. The two series most closely associated with the President are the President's Handwriting and the Annotated News Summaries. The President's Handwriting contains memoranda and reports bearing notes in the President's handwriting. The President's notations range from the approval or disapproval of plans for social events to the initiation of major domestic or foreign policy programs. The principal aides represented in this series are Patrick J. Buchanan, Arthur F. Burns, Charles W. Colson, Harry S. Dent, John D. Ehrlichman, Alexander M. Haig, H.R. Haldeman, Henry A. Kissinger, Paul W. McCracken, Robert P. Mayo, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Peter G. Peterson, George P. Shultz, Herbert Stein, and Caspar W. Weinberger. News summaries were prepared for the President on a regular basis by the Office of Media Analysis and Speechwriting. The Annotated News Summaries contain the President's marginalia on a wide variety of subjects. As with the President's Handwriting series, the notations were often intended by the President to be directives to his staff. In such cases, the Staff Secretary would provide a memorandum to the appropriate person informing him of the President's request. The Staff Secretary was also responsible for the disposition of Presidential handwriting material. From January 1969 to October 1971 only those pages of the news summary on which the President wrote were retained in the file. Thereafter, the complete issue was retained regardless of the amount of Presidential handwriting it contained. The News Summaries series, which included the unannotated copies from 1971 to 1974, is not complete. The materials of Patrick J. Buchanan and Lyndon K. (Mort) Allin in the White House Central Files, Staff Member and Office Files should be examined for issues of the news summaries not found in the President's Office Files. Other prominent file groups which contain the President's handwriting are the National Security Council Files and the President's Personal Files. The third series in the President's Office Files is the President's Meetings File, 1969-74. The-major subseries–Memoranda for the President's File–describes the meetings and ceremonies in which the President participated. These memoranda were written by White House staff members whose attendance was required at specific meetings and who were assigned the task of recording the event for the files. Frequently staff members prepared "color" reports of meetings, which recorded anecdotes involving the President and his advisors. The chief correspondents are John K. Andrews, Patrick J. Buchanan, Alexander P. Butterfield, Stephen B. Bull, Charles W. Colson, Alexander M. Haig, Henry A. Kissinger, Tom C. Korologos, Peter G. Peterson, Raymond K. Price, and Caspar W. Weinberger. The President's meetings with the Republican and Democratic leaders, the Cabinet, and the Quadriad (the Administration's economic policymakers) are well documented in the Memoranda for the President's File subseries. However, other meetings of the President are not as well covered and gaps of several days occur when he traveled abroad or to Key Biscayne or San Clemente. Beginning in late 1973 the quantity of memoranda decreases. In addition, some staff members failed to provide the memoranda for meetings to which they were assigned. In such instances, the President's briefing paper in advance of the event or the reminder to the staff member about his overdue memorandum was inserted in the file. The Chronological File series, 1969-74, consists almost entirely of copies of the President's confidential correspondence to heads of state, congressmen, religious leaders, White House and Administration officials, and private citizens. From 1969 until early 1970, the file also includes copies of memoranda the President wrote to his top-level assistants, principally H. R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman. Two of the series which document the President's daily activities are the desk copies of his daily schedule and the logs maintained by the White House telephone operators. The daily schedules cover the period September 1969-December 1972. Beginning in June 1971, the schedules are fewer in number, and there are gaps of several weeks. Prepared in advance, the schedules are generally divided into morning and afternoon segments. Frequently, the afternoon segment contains the public activities of Mrs. Nixon, Patricia Nixon Cox, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower. The President's Telephone Calls series dates from January 1969 to December 1973. These logs were used by the Office of Presidential Papers to compile the President's daily diaries. Other White House Special Files materials relating directly to the papers in the President's Office Files can be found in the Staff Secretary's Files and the President's Personal Files.

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